Canva acquires Affinity apps

Just leave it here:

…and my standard reminder which, I believe, nobody here needs (except myself):

  1. Time flies.
  2. Everything changes.
  3. We are pouring our souls into some little, most important thing in the world just to forget and move to the new one a second later.
  4. We are ok.
  5. If we aren’t, better we have a more convincing reason than just some app :grimacing:
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@dario: Thank you for posting the article! The Times:

Gary Bates, 54, and Jim Bryce, 59, owned about two thirds of Serif, which is known for its Affinity range of software for professional designers.

They acquired the lossmaking business for less than £1 million in 2001 as part of a management buyout from a now-defunct American company.

To be honest, I probably would have done the same. They have spent more than 20 years building this ecosystem and apparently they started with … well… Now, they are nearing retirement age. Both have families. And they get this offer to sell the company. Are there others in their families who are able and willing to continue the business? If not, it is a no-brainer to sell from their standpoint and in their situation.

I have no idea what will come out of this, but The Affinity and Canva Pledge (above) has addressed everything that is important at this time. The future will show where everything is headed at. But no matter what business, it always is about the money. It cannot work differently. Nowhere, not in the long run.


I agree. I say congratulations to them. For a long time, Serif was known for selling cheap but effective graphics software for Windows. The move into Macs with Photo and then Designer was a big risk for them. They seem to have extracted some guarantees about development and pricing from Canva, so they have not left their users high and dry.

That was a big chunk of money for Canva to stick on the table!

Things said in the lead-up to a merger or acquisition, “We don’t expect layoffs to be necessary.”

The reality is that new owners can’t see redundancies until after they have had their hands on the reins for a while.

Now, software mergers and acquisitions have added this statement, “Users won’t be forced into paying a subscription after the acquisition.”

The reality has been, even for existing software houses, to say something like this, “To keep improving the app, we’re switching over to subscription pricing …”

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I love the sentiment, but obviously this can be changed whenever they want. New leadership or financial issues can quickly reorientate an organisation.


Indeed, but one can hope! :slightly_smiling_face:


True, but plenty of apps that haven’t changed ownership have suddenly and without warning switched to subscriptions (Fantastical, Ulysses, etc.). At least Canva/Serif are making an explicit promise here, but you’re right, there are no guarantees about things like that with any commercial software.


This is brilliant news.

I already have the pro subscription to Canva which means I use it, my 2 daughters use it for their university work, and my assistant uses it to help me. It saves me soooo much money and hassle, and the results are waaaaaayy better than I’d get. One of my favourite expenses.

I actually own the affinity products, but never use them. I hope the canva folk use figure out how to get the best of both worlds - making the affinity apps better, and make the canva web app better. Clever folk, I’m sure they will.


As do I, so this is great news for me, though I’ve never used the affinity suite. I have a bit of a soft spot for Canva as the founder grew up a couple of suburbs over from me! It’s great to see her continue to do well.

It’s great to see her continue to do well.

It is! Although I live in New Zealand, most of my clients are in Sydney tech, so I hear a lot of nice things about them.


Canva do have an FAQ entry:

We share a commitment to making design fairer and more accessible. For Canva, this has meant making our core product available for free to millions of people across the globe, and for Affinity, this has meant a fairly priced perpetual license model. We know this model has been a key part of the Affinity offering and we are committed to continue to offer perpetual licenses in the future.

If we do offer a subscription, it will only ever be as an option alongside the perpetual model, for those who prefer it. This fits with enabling Canva users to start adopting Affinity. It could also allow us to offer Affinity users a way to scale their workflows using Canva as a platform to share and collaborate on their Affinity assets, if they choose to.

So credit to them, this may yet be an ok acquisition.


Always good to see another kiwi!

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@IrvingPenn there are dozens of us (or at least 4)


I’m in the same boat. The Adobe “muscle-memory” is pretty tough to overlook. I’m still faster in Adobe, but getting faster in Affinity all the time. I’ve purchased the Affinity apps since the beginning because they were impressive and really showed potential. I wanted to support them in the hopes that they would continue to improve. The improvements moved forward at a slower pace than I had hoped, but it was still a phenomenal value. I still pay Adobe each month. I need to use Adobe for client work because that’s what they use. I still need to teach Adobe, because it is industry standard where I live and students are expected to be Adobe-ready when they graduate. I have been messing around with Affinity off and on for personal projects when time permits and quite like it. I’ll be retiring in about 4 years and plan to be Affinity only at that point so I can do more personal work that isn’t Adobe dependent.


Haven’t seen an optimistic take, so here it is:

  • The Affinity apps stay as one-time purchases (after all, that’s central to their “brand”)
  • They add an optional “Affinity Cloud” subscription that adds file sharing, generative AI, templates from Canva etc directly into the app.

I recall when subscriptions were becoming more standard the promise all the companies tossed out was “this allows for continual improvements and updates without waiting for a new version release.”

Sounded great in theory. Of all the subscriptions I’ve had/tried, Adobe seems to be the only one that took that to heart and continually pushes improvements and new elements out.

Now, I only subscribe to Lightroom and they’ve done a great job with it. I’m sure the complaints other people have with Adobe are legitimate, but I’ve never regretted paying that subscription cost.

Seriously this. If I had to pare back to just one app subscription, Adobe’s Lightroom + Photoshop package would be it. The updates are regular and material.

I recall when subscriptions were becoming more standard the promise all the companies tossed out was “this allows for continual improvements and updates without waiting for a new version release.” Sounded great in theory.

Well, it’s absolutely true. It allows for that. It doesn’t guarantee anything though. It’s kind of like that line that keeps getting trotted out about open source software, claiming that it’s more secure because it has thousands of people looking at the code. It’s possible in theory, but it’s not true a large percentage of the time.

I think the difference is that Adobe was constantly doing updates anyway. If you look at the timeline for the Creative Suite line of Adobe products (Adobe Creative Suite - Wikipedia), they were releasing versions every year or two right up until they switched to the subscription model. Now they’re just incrementally releasing features instead of bundling them into demarcated major versions.

Adobe also managed to provide a better method of entry for their software suite. CS6 Master Collection was $2600. So if you wanted to use multiple apps in CS6, you either had to plunk down $2600 or pirate it until you could get the money together. I would bet that the amount of piracy of their software also went down at least somewhat, which means they picked up money that was being left on the table.

Now you can get all the Adobe apps for $90/month (if you bill monthly), $60/month (if you commit to a year), or $55/month (if you pay for a year up-front). That’s a break-even point of about 2.5 years (monthly) to 4 years (yearly, either option) vs. the up-front pricing from CS6, which makes it a pretty good deal.

In other words, Adobe managed to maintain value and massively reduce barrier to entry.

Contrast that to some other apps that go from a perpetual license at $30 with 2-3 year release timeframes to a $60/year subscription. Those software houses aren’t used to the rolling release schedule, and they’re likely not massively increasing their dev staff - they’re just reacting to the fact that their current devs can’t make ends meet without more money.

I don’t begrudge anybody the ability to make a living. I just wish the companies in that position would say that outright rather than trotting out the “continuous improvement” line. I can sympathize with “we got the pricing wrong,” or “costs for everything are going up - so our software has to as well.” Either is massively better than vague promises that are unlikely to be kept.


It’s not really clear to me from the press materials—is Nitro a new, separate app meant to be used alongside Raw Power, or is Raw Power being discontinued in favour of Nitro going forward?